Sunday 7th June 2015 ko 16.00
Division 6 Västra Uppland
MORGONGÅVA SK 2 (Magnusson 2 Folkesson 17)
ÅSUNDA IF 1 (Holmberg 76) Mahmood sent off 90 (2nd booking)
NB The Swedish hop’s cost of £280 included all entry fees, programmes, two nights bed and breakfast, and coach travel between the games and Arlanda airport.
The final game in this year’s Swedish hop took the party back towards Uppsala, and the pretty agricultural district of Heby. In so many ways Ramsjövallen was exactly the kind of ground we like to feature. Its isolated, pretty, and if it wasn’t for Kim Hedwall organising this annual event the coach party would never of even heard of it, let alone paid it a visit. A closer look also shows the other side of organising a groundhop too, the benefit to the club.
The other 70-or-so supporters paid nothing, this is the bottom end of the food-chain here. Divisions 7 and 8 don’t exist here, and it puts Kim is an awkward position every time we encounter it. On one hand we could easily turn up, watch the game and pay nothing, but that doesn’t seem fair to us. How would you feel if you were the club chairman and 20 or so British tourists arrived, and made no contribution?
Kim’s idea is to contact the club, and offer a donation for each of us there. For that we get a talk from the chairman, a coffee and a small memento, in this case it was a pennant and a badge. It gives everyone, hopefully, what they want for the visitors the chance to see a new ground, and the club to make a little money.
But what about Morgongåva? Literally translated it means “Morning Present” and in the 19th century was a type of dowry, the wife being entitled to the sum on the death of her husband, but only after being married for one night! It acted as a kind of insurance policy for her. The town is named after its oldest cottage built in 1667, and the story goes that the dwelling was itself a morgongåva gift.
Legend has it that during the 17th century a noble, the Patron of Molnebo, just outside Morgongåva, had an affair with one of his maids. She became pregnant and the Patron was afraid that his wife would find out about the relationship. He paid one of his farmhands to marry her and provided an income for their future together. Once the maid servant and the farmhand were married, they received the cottage as a form of morgongåva.
These days that wedding gift has changed markedly, but the tradition of the bride giving a gift to her husband remains. A popular form of modern morgongåva can be album of “boudoir” photos and these do tend to be somewhat racy! The research for this article was nothing if not interesting!
On the footballing side of things, there was little that was racy. The club are struggling, a new committee have taken over and hope for better things, but this game was third-from-bottom against second-from-bottom, and the standard was poor. Time after time passes were misplaced, or shots flew wide. The scene was beautiful, and the players committed, but as a game is cried out for someone to control the game from midfield. Morgongåva won deservedly, and in the end it all got too much for Åsunda’s Harith Mahmood. A shoving match followed by a volley of abuse to referee David Wigfelt saw two bookings in 20 seconds, and first use of the shower.
The coach made its way back to Arlanda, and the talk, inevitably was where to go next year. Next year will be the 10th anniversary Swedish hop, so something special will be planned. One idea is to head to the north of Sweden, perhaps even to above the Artic Circle. That would create a few difficulties, with there being far fewer towns and clubs there, and flights being less frequent and more expensive. But come next February the emails will start to follow between Oxford and Solna, and the big wheel will start turning again.
The plane landed back at Gatwick, and after goodbyes and drop-offs I eventually found myself driving home through Oxford. It was 2.30am and by the bus stop for the airports was a small gaggle of bleary eyed tourists. Even at that time I could sense the anticipation, after all just 6 days and a thousand memories earlier I’d been in the same position.